Arditi studied law at the University of Naples and then worked as a lawyer. In 1767 he published a learned Latin treatise on guardianship law. In addition, he dealt with feudal law and local disputes, trying to combine practical forensic experience with legal theory. Arditi was friends with Giacomo Martorelli , the first excavator of Pompeii. In 1787 Arditi became a member of the Accademia Ercolanense and from then on made numerous contributions to the description of found objects from Ercolano , especially to volume 8 of the Antichità di Ercolano . After his brother's resignation, he was given the title of marchese , which the king confirmed in 1797.
After an interlude in which Christoph Saliceti and Pietro La Vega were excavation directors in Pompeii , Michele Arditi succeeded Francesco La Vega in 1807 . On behalf of the Bourbon rulers of the Kingdom of Naples, he prepared a large-scale plan for the development of the archaeological site of Pompeii. On his initiative, the owners of the land under which the ruins were hidden were paid out or expropriated so that the entire city area was free for excavation. With the attempt to find and completely excavate the city walls, the first targeted research was carried out in the ancient city. Today Arditi introduced such natural things as the removal of the overburden to a place outside the excavation site or the beginning of the excavation at two points, which then move towards each other and finally meet.
Thanks to the French enthusiasm for Pompeii, especially Queen Caroline Bonaparte , the wife of Joachim Murat , it was now possible to dig on a large scale for the first time. At times, Arditi could have up to 700 workers. During this time, for example, the house of Sallust , the Herculaner Tor and parts of the forum, such as the Fortuna Augusta temple , were uncovered. After the rulers had to leave Naples again by Napoleon's grace in 1815, the project almost came to a standstill after a while, as the new old rulers of Naples from the House of Bourbon-Sicily had little interest in the excavations and even less money for it. It was only thanks to the hard work and dedication of Michele Arditi and his successors Francesco Maria Avellino and Domenico Spinelli that Giuseppe Fiorelli was able to begin his groundbreaking excavations in 1863 .
In 1807, Michele Arditi was appointed director of the National Museum in Naples and superintendent of the archaeological excavations by Joseph Bonaparte , in April 1817 he was confirmed in these offices by King Ferdinand and at the same time appointed general director for the literary, antiquarian and art collections. He donated numerous objects from his property to the collections that he headed. Arditi was one of the humanistically educated polymaths of the Settecento , with many of them he was in regular correspondence, including Gaetano Marini , Stefano Borgia , Giovanni Battista Tommasi or Ennio Quirino Visconti . He was also active as a composer. His oratorio Gioas re di Giuda , written in 1767, was performed in 2012 at the “La voce degli Angeli” festival in Presicce .
Michele Arditi was buried in the Church of San Ferdinando in Naples.
- Arditi, Michele. In: Alberto M. Ghisalberti (Ed.): Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani (DBI). Volume 4: Arconati-Bacaredda. Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana, Rome 1962.
- Website of the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples on the excavation history of Pompeii, English ; the same Italian
- Presicce: Gioas re di Giuda: Oratorio di Michele Arditi for the Festival “La voce degli Angeli”. Event announcement from July 25, 2012 on corrieresalentino.it (Italian) , accessed on June 8, 2015.
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||Italian archaeologist|
|DATE OF BIRTH||September 12, 1746|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Presicce|
|DATE OF DEATH||April 23, 1838|
|Place of death||Naples|